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20th Annual Dealing with Difference Institute at WIU

April 3, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University will host the 20th Dealing with Difference Institute (DWDI), "Multicultural Education: Always Unfinished, Always Evolving," Tuesday-Wednesday, May 14-15 in the University's Multicultural Center on the Macomb campus.

According to Janice Welsch, English professor emeritus and DWDI co-coordinator, the 2013 institute will focus on helping educators in colleges and universities, as well as in P-12 schools, respond to the opportunities and challenges of an increasingly diverse world. This year's speakers during the institute will include James A. Banks, founding director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, Seattle; Paul Gorski, associate professor of Integrative Studies in the New Century College at George Mason University; Barbara Ransby, historian, writer and longtime activist; and Ann Russo, chair of the women's and gender studies department at DePaul University in Chicago.

On Tuesday, May 14, Russo will open the institute at 1:15 p.m. with "Cultivating Accountability: Building Community and Solidarity across Power Lines." She will describe some of the innovative approaches scholars and activists are using to develop relationships and solidarity across systemic inequities and different experiences of power and privilege. Russo is the author of numerous books and journal articles, including "Taking Back Our Lives: A Call to Action in the Feminist Movement" and co-editor of "Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism."

Ransby, a professor of African American studies, gender and women's studies, and history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will speak at 2:45 p.m. May 14. Ransby directs both the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative and the Gender and Women's Studies Program and founded Ella's Daughters, a network of women working in the tradition of civil rights activist Ella Baker. In 2004, Ransby published "Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision," which received multiple awards. Her most recent book, "Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson," was published by Yale University Press in December 2012.

Banks, who is recognized as the "Father of Multicultural Education," will present the keynote address at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 15. Welsch noted that Banks' participation is particularly appropriate on the 20th anniversary of the Dealing with Difference Institute as he was the first major nationally recognized cultural diversity scholar to speak at Western in the late 1980s.

Banks will present "Diversity in America: Challenges and Opportunities for Educating Citizens in Global Times." According to Welsch, he has chosen this topic to underscore his conviction that "the future of multicultural education in the United States [is] linked with global citizenship and globalization."

A former elementary school teacher, Banks has written and edited groundbreaking texts and reference works in multicultural education, including "Teaching Strategies for Ethnic Studies" (now in its eighth edition), "Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives" (now in its seventh edition), "Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action," to name a few. For the past 15 years, he has been editor of the Multicultural Education Series published by Teachers College Press.

At 10:15 a.m. May 15, Gorski will present "Creating an Equitable Learning and Working Environment: An Equity Literacy Approach" in a combined DWDI presentation and workshop. He describes equity literacy as "an approach to thinking about diversity that includes four components: the ability to recognize inequity, the ability to respond to inequity, the ability to redress inequity and the ability to create and sustain an equitable working and learning environment." After discussing these components, Gorski and participants will explore how to apply them to their own personal and professional situations.

Gorski teaches courses on class and poverty, educational equity, social justice, and diversity. He created and maintains the award-winning website, Multicultural Pavilion, and founded EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists who develop free, web-accessible resources to further the understanding and practice of social justice and equity.

Additional sessions are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, as well as a dinner to conclude opening day activities.

Funding from the Expanding Cultural Diversity Project at Western allows WIU faculty, staff and students to attend the institute at no cost (with the exception of the $15 fee for the Tuesday evening dinner). To facilitate planning, registration is required by Tuesday, May 7. Registration and fees for the general public are nonstudents, $15 (by May 7; $25 after May 7); students, $5 (by May 7; $10 after May 7), and an additional $30 for all meals, including the May 14 dinner.

A complete schedule and registration forms are available at and at For more information, contact Welsch at or DWDI Co-Coordinator J.Q. Adams at
The Dealing with Difference Institute is sponsored by Western's Expanding Cultural Diversity Project and Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research, the Illinois Association for Cultural Diversity and the Hancock/McDonough Regional Office of Education.

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